I am angry about the pseudo-literary/intellectual bullshit we let pass. So the internet has become open arena abi? The 20th century saw us getting worse and worse and worse! The “death of philosophy and art”, the “end of history”? And you did not know it was your own death knell?
We need to remind each other why the Humanities are so important. It is, in one phrase, “to keep philistinism at bay”. It is because music and light are as universal and mysterious as man and it is important to keep men aware of the mystery that is themselves, that sets them away from animals. And that music and light, whether in painting or writing, needs to be cultured.
When we let the pseudo-literary/intellectual take over on account of the validity of “opinion”, we mess with the culture of progress and enlightenment than we are at the end of. The Humanities are important for our self preservation. We really should not be irresponsible.
Don’t you think it is incongruous to accuse a writer of “arrogance” or being “egotistical” about a fiction he has written? Of course he knows that he knows his book better than you ever will. And what on earth is a book of fiction but the supreme creation of ego? Aren’t you far wrong to expect it to be otherwise?
Yet I hear these two words uttered as accusations!
There are few things a craftsman can be arrogant about and one of these is the work of his hands. Expect no prevarication from me on what I have done, I am confident about it, confident enough to give it to you to test and appraise it. In giving it to you, you get the right to appraise, you get a universal lease on it. But never forget that you are entering my world, not the other way around.
I am thinking about cliquey minded collectives and how interesting that, for purposes of psychology alone of course, a certain sort of artist cannot find validation in how well they pour themselves into their work. A lot of Nigeria’s young artists, in writing especially, posses talent but are lacking in authenticity, yet authenticity is what endures, for it is not a thing to be considered to be acknowledged by a fellow artist or a consumer of art. It is de-facto and in your face. It is not the same thing as talent, which merely produces some sort of original work.
Authenticity is what is there beneath the words, as potent as a slap or the hiss of a rattlesnake. It is the sense, for want of a better word, that gives a moral core to an artist. A moral core has nothing to do with morality. Cliquey minded collectives may produce original work, in literature and even art, but never authentic work. For the artists themselves are defective.
But then, there have been some for whom the lesser rung, mere originality or even less than this, is enough. To these unfortunates I say the salaam of politeness only.